Monday, August 25, 2008

Bank holiday

While in Ely we got that diesel this time at the marina for 95p per litre. Luckily, as we approached the pump a boat moved off. Ely is now full of boats on the river as they have come out for this long weekend. We set off down river to Littleport and about 6 cruisers followed us out of Ely. It was not long before they had all passed us with their big engines and bow waves spreading out behind them. Thankfully there was one space over on the left shore at the Environment Agency moorings while the moorings on the right were full with two narrow boats and three cruisers.
It only took 15 minutes to get into the village which has a few shops including Co op, Hardware, Pharmacy, Butcher and gifts. But there is no Post office. The information board at the mooring told us about the local history. William Harley lived here and in 1860 went to New York in the U.S.A. There his son met the Davidson brothers and created the iconic motor cycle.

This is a stainless steel representation of the original design. A shrine for all those who admire that Harley – Davidson bike. In 1944 the Oxford and Cambridge boat race was rowed on the Great Ouse from near Littleport to Ely. I wonder which University won that year. The river has no bends so it would have been a strait dash to the finish.
When we returned we moved the boat up to the end of the mooring as a boat had left. Just as well because a faulty pump out machine behind us was a bit smelly. By the end of the day more boats turned up filling all available spaces including double parking by the water point! An Environment Agency launch was seen on patrol. They have FM radio communication with most of the other boats and get to know about ‘overstayers’ and undesirable boats on the river. You can imagine the chin wagging going on between the owners of cruisers looking for available moorings. The net result is that there are very few rubbish boats on the rivers. Although EA & BW both get their grants from the government EA do seem more efficient.
All moorings are limited to a stay of two nights so we move off down the river Lark on Monday and hope that at least some boats will be heading back to the marina. The Lark was quite wide in places and the first set of moorings were full.

However we were able to stop at Prickwillow and moored half on and half off at one end accompanied by an abandoned boat in the middle! The other end was shallow with a rocky bottom where the water point was sited.
We paid an educational visit to the Drainage Engine Museum here. Old steam and diesel engines lovingly restored and run on occasions. The fens are now kept dry by electric pumps scattered about the system of drains, lodes and rivers.

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